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In Canada, They Call it Therapy

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Last Updated: 08/13/2013 3:41 pm
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When I train established professional astrologers in this, one of their most burning questions is how to condition their clientele not to show up with questions like, “When should I dump my stock portfolio?” or “When is the fabulous guy gonna show up?”

This is easy. When you make the space for people to express their feelings, they usually open up. It happens rarely enough that anyone really cares or has time to listen, or the compassion to actually extend themselves emotionally.

Using the Chiron process, we admit that a person has feelings; and in doing so, we might even get underneath the resistance to being in a loving relationship, and we might understand something about values concerning money that would influence a financial decision. This seems more in the domain of spiritual work than therapy or traditional astrology, and I would remind everyone that the practice of both spirituality and astrology (and indeed of therapy) are protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution.

Such a process also does something vital, which is to teach astrologers how transits work, and thus how the natal chart works. It provides a window into human nature, and not merely astrological nature, as it attempts to explain human nature. Transits inherently remind us all that the cosmos is a thing in motion, and that planets act as waves much more than they act as particles.

Working this way runs precisely opposite to a dominant trend in mainstream astrology, which is harkening back to much older modes of work where things are perceived to be predetermined, predictable, and more orderly than life usually turns out to be.

In a world that grows more complex and uncertain every day, the idea that there is a simple answer to the many questions of existence is appealing. Astrology is terrible for finding easy answers. It is excellent for taking a complex view of a situation, seeing the many factors and people involved, observing that everything is in relationship to everything else; and then for making observations that may be reflected both in life and in the chart.

Closer to the heart of the matter is the need for astrology to face the many unknowns that come with existence, rather than attempting to explain the mystery away. That is religion: You co-opt philosophy, sex, death, and the meaning of life and sell it to people in a moral package.

An art form connected to an ever-expanding cosmos needs to look at mystery and show respect for mystery. We need to recognize that each client and each reader presents an entirely different, truly unique worldview, metaphysical view, sexual orientation, and set of specific needs.

We need to recognize that astrologers come to the work with their own issues. I encouraged my students, in particular, to know their sexual issues and to understand the specific ways in which religion and their parents messed them up. We may not be able to resolve all of this material before we start working with people, but if we know our issues it will be that much easier to keep them out of the way of our clients. We will be able to assist people who are happier than us, more successful than we are, or who dare to be freer than we would ever dream of being. And we can also work with those who face situations far more grim than we would ever wish for anyone, but not be coming from a sense of pity or the need to fix anyone.

Along these lines, I recommend that anyone who is working with people as an astrologer be in a therapy process. I don’t think it’s necessary to have “completed” the process, but rather to be in deep enough to feel vulnerable, and to have opened the lid to the unknown within themselves. Part of therapy is claiming what you feel, what you know and what you don’t know, and if you get into those habits, you will be a lot less likely to inflict damage on the people who come to you for help. And if you have a therapist you trust and can go to, you will have a mentor who can guide you through difficult situations with clients, which may arise from time to time.

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